Friday, 28 March 2008

DIE SPINNEN/The Spiders (1919)

Fritz Lang’s THE SPIDERS is distant precursor to the INDIANA JONES series. The film also features elements that would obsess Lang throughout his entire career including super criminals, secret societies, séances etc. As with the Spielberg films, THE SPIDERS was originally designed as a series but only the first two parts were actually made. In the first part Der Goldene See, sportsman and adventurer Kay Hoog discovers a message in a bottle sent by an explorer who had discovered a lost tribe of Aztecs in South America. Hoog sets off to find the lost civilization and the vast treasure spoken off in the message. He is pursued by a secret society called The Spiders who want the treasure to fulfil their plans for world domination. Hoog returns to America with an Aztec princess who is murdered by The Spiders when he rebuffs the amorous advances of the society’s female leader. In part Das Brillantenschiff Hoog sets out to avenge his dead love and thwart The Spiders in their quest for a huge diamond known as The Budda’s Head. The adventure takes Hoog into a lost Chinese city beneath San Francisco and to a network of caves beneath the Falkland Islands. Crude by the standards of Lang’s later films THE SPIDERS (both parts are included on the DVD) is nonetheless an enjoyable adventure and a must for anybody interested in German cinema or Lang’s career in particular. It’s two-fisted action from an earlier age and it is great to see it on DVD even if a good restoration is needed, particularly on part two. Rating ***

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